Turner Broadcasting says that it will cut about 1,475 jobs “at all levels from across the company’s news, entertainment, kids, young adult and sports networks and businesses, as well as corporate functions, in 18 Turner locations around the world.” About 300 of the losses — including 130 voluntary buyouts — will come from CNN’s 3,500-person worldwide workforce, CNN.com reports. Also, about 975 Turner Broadcasting positions will be eliminated in Atlanta, where 6,500 of its 14,000 employees are based.
Today’s announcement adds detail to Turner Broadcasting CEO John Martin’s warning to staffers in August that the company would need to restructure in order to “start 2015 a more streamlined, nimble and efficient company focused on driving programming, monetization and innovation, in a culture that emphasizes and rewards continuous improvement.” At the time Turner offered buyouts to nearly 600 employees who were at least 55 years old with 10 or more years of service as of the end of 2014, excluding on-air talent and those under contract.
The news comes a week before Time Warner holds a long-awaited meeting with Wall Street analysts to persuade them that it’s on the right track after it rejected Fox’s $80B takeover bid. Rupert Murdoch withdrew his $85 a share cash and stock offer in August; Time Warner closed today at $73.82. Turner execs will have to overcome a lot of skepticism. Ratings for the its networks “remain challenged,” Bernstein Research analyst Todd Juenger recently noted, “and we’re sure management is working hard to improve that situation, but it’s hard (for any company) to convince investors they will succeed and ratings will improve. Every TV company believes they will increase ratings.” Turner this morning agreed to spend about $10B to renew a deal to offer NBA games and related content for nine years, ending in 2024.
Here’s today’s memo from Turner Broadcasting:
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. will reduce its global workforce of some 14,000 full-time employees by approximately 10 percent, the company announced today. The position eliminations, which will total approximately 1,475 roles, will come at all levels from across the company’s news, entertainment, kids, young adult and sports networks and businesses, as well as corporate functions, in 18 Turner locations around the world. Employees whose positions are directly impacted will be advised over the next two weeks and will be offered severance pay for transition.
The position eliminations are one component of a comprehensive initiative and company reorganization to focus resources and prioritize investment in programming, monetization and innovation as near- and long-term drivers of growth.
This reorganization includes position reductions from a voluntary separation program, involuntary separations, elimination of unfilled headcount and the addition of approximately 150 new positions in areas of investment and growth. Turner Broadcasting will continue to maintain significant employee populations in major cities around the world, including Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Buenos Aires and Santiago. Atlanta remains the company’s largest employee base, with more than 5,500 full-time employees.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news; entertainment; kids and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.